According to a new study from the University of Miami, men who follow vegan diets have the same testosterone levels as men who eat meat. This finding dispels the widespread belief that men need to eat animal protein to support healthy levels of the hormone.
The study results were published in the World Journal of Urology.
Dr Ranjith Ramasamy, the co-author of the study and Associate Professor and Director of Reproductive Urology at the University of Miami Health System, said: "We found that a plant-based diet was associated with normal testosterone levels, levels that are the same as occur in men who eat a traditional diet that includes more meat."
"The old idea that men needed to consume a traditional diet with plenty of meat to have a healthy testosterone level was based on pure conjecture, not based on evidence," he added.
Plant-based and vegan diets have become extremely popular in recent years but until now, the studies on the effects of these diets on testosterone levels have been inconsistent.
"The number of U.S. consumers who say that they adhere to a plant-based diet increased by 500% between 2014 and 2017, and sales of plant-based foods rose 20% in 2018 compared to the year prior," the authors wrote in the report.
For this particular study, the researchers used data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. The scientists collected information from about 191 men between the ages of 18 and 75 were used. They used data on demographics, income, health and diet details. They also conducted medical exams and specific lab tests on the survey participants.
Researchers also divided the men who were vegan in two groups: those who followed a healthier plant-based diet and those who followed a less healthy plant-based diet.
"You can eat a lot of soda, chips, and juice, which are plant foods but aren't healthy foods," explains Manish Kuchakalla, co-author of the study.
All of the participants had their testosterone levels checked.
The analysis showed that neither meat nor the plant-based diet affect testosterone levels.
"Whether a man ate a traditional diet with lots of animal foods, a healthy plant-based diet, or a less healthy plant-based diet simply did not matter. We found no differences," said Manish Kuchakulla.
The researchers found out that a healthy plant-based diet does not only support the proper testosterone levels but also have other health benefits, including reducing the risks of hypertension, heart disease, heart attacks, strokes, and cancer.
Authors of the report recommend vegan diets as a better choice for out planet.
"Studies have shown that a shift to a more sustainable eating pattern with a reduction in animal-based foods can result in more than a 70% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions," the they wrote in the report.
"Plant-based diets also reduce a person's carbon footprint, so they can help us address global warming," says Manish Kuchakulla.